Jay Kim, Executive Director, NLGSF,, 415-285-5067 x104

The Immigration Committee of the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area strongly condemns the appointment of Nicolas R. Ford as a judge in the San Francisco Immigration Court. Because of his record of complicity in torture and state violence, we call on the Department of Justice to rescind his appointment. 

From 1972 to 1991, over a hundred Black men were subjected to torture by the Chicago police. As a prosecutor in Cook County, Illinois, there is overwhelming evidence that Judge Ford was complicit in this systemic police torture. As a Circuit Court judge, Ford convicted and sentenced torture victims, despite clear evidence they had been tortured. In the case of Keith Walker, Judge Ford ruled on the case of a torture victim whose confession he himself had taken while serving as a prosecutor. The Illinois appellate court has overturned Judge Ford’s decisions on multiple occasions due to his law enforcement bias: in one first-degree murder case that was overturned, Ford gave a 100-year prison sentence to a 16-year-old based on his personal views on gang violence.

We strongly condemn Judge Ford’s selection. As someone who has dedicated his career to perpetuating racist state violence, Judge Ford has no place in a courtroom. He is particularly unfit for Immigration Court, where he will be deciding the fate of asylum seekers and torture victims. We call upon the Department of Justice to immediately rescind his appointment. 

The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Immigration Committee is comprised of attorneys, students, and legal workers who work together to provide Know Your Rights trainings, engage in rapid response work, and run the Immigration Court Observation Program (ICOP). The Committee’s listserv of over 200 members also provides a space for practitioners to keep updated on changes to the law and policy, seek practice advice from other immigration attorneys and legal workers, and to support communities and organizations fighting mass deportation and the criminalization of immigrants.